A definition of Natural Family Planning, by a woman who uses it.
This will not likely change Caspar's opinion of what NFP is. But it might help some of our readers (are there any left?) to understand what NFP is since it is widely misunderstood.
NFP is the understanding and charting of a woman's fertility. That's it. It is simply the knowledge of when a couple can, and cannot conceive. What a couple chooses to do with that knowledge is not defined by NFP.
My husband, Rob, and I do practice NFP although we have never used it to avoid conceiving. In fact, we used it to conceive with this current pregnancy. I chart with NFP (sometimes more regularly than others) in order to know my body, mostly so that I will know if something is wrong with me if things change. We don't have any reasons to avoid children, and likely won't have any in the future, Lord willing. It will be good to know when to abstain, though, if anything should arise in our lives which would necessitate avoiding conception (see post below).
The thing that makes NFP different than any other form of contraception is that it is a hibernating form of contraception unless you choose to abstain. And if you do choose to abstain for one day of your fertile period, you have the chance to change your mind tomorrow. You have not avoided conception until you have continuously abstained for the whole of a woman's fertile period which lasts 7 to 10 days.